jueves, 25 de febrero de 2010

Lobos y elefantes marinos en la Pla. Valdés, Chubut, Argentina

The Valdes Peninsula (Spanish: Península Valdés) is a peninsula on the Atlantic coast in the Viedma Department in the north east of Chubut Province, Argentina. About 3,625 km2 (896,000 acres; 1,400 sq mi) in size, it is an important nature reserve which was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The nearest large town is Puerto Madryn. The only town on the peninsula is the small settlement of Puerto Piramides.
The coastline is inhabited by marine mammals, like sea lions, elephant seals and fur seals. Southern right whales can be found in Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San José, protected bodies of water located between the peninsula and the Patagonian mainland. These baleen whales come here between May and December, for mating and giving birth, because the water in the gulf is quieter and warmer than in the open sea. Orcas can be found off the coast, in the open sea off the peninsula. In this area, they are known to beach themselves on shore to capture sea lions and elephant seals.
Large colonies of penguins can also be found along the shore.
Right whales have distinctive callosities (roughened patches of skin) on the heads of their mostly black, rotund bodies. They can grow up to 18 m (59 ft) long and weigh up to 100 tons.
They are called "right whales" because whalers thought the whales were the "right" ones to hunt, as they float when killed and often swim within sight of shore. As such, they were nearly hunted to extinction during the active years of the whaling industry. Today, instead of hunting them, people often watch these acrobatic animals for pleasure
The inner part of the peninsula is inhabited by rheas, guanacos and maras

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